New Murals in Lexington – 2021 PRHBTN and More

I have fallen seriously behind in my blog posts recently. I am trying to catch up and would be seriously remiss if I did not do my annual post about new murals and wall art in Lexington.
Last October was the celebration of the 10th anniversary of PRHBTN. This is the group that brings in famed street artists from all over the world to put wonderful art on the walls of Lexington. For 2022, PRHBTN brought in a few artists that have been here before, including the whimsical Kraken art of Patch Whisky, the lovely realism of Alexandrea Pangburn, colorful artist GAIA, and a couple of others including Key Detail, Joe King and Aerosol Kingdom (who worked with Alexandrea on the 2022 project).
Along the way, I have also come across others that decorate the walls of Lexington, though some may have been around for awhile.
Untitled Patch Whisky Mural on Southland Drive in Lexington
Visiting with Patch Whisky in Nov. 2018

My favorite of the bunch is the untitled Kraken mural that colors the walls of a building on Southland Drive. This was done by Patch Whisky, from North Carolina. He did a grand Kraken a couple of years ago over on Loudon Ave., but it has since been painted over (said with sadness).

Alexandrea Pangburn’s art is amazingly realistic. This year she was joined by Aerosol Kingdom on their piece titled “Till the Cows Come Home.” It is on the side of Lowell’s Auto Repair on Mechanic Street. This was interesting as Denver-based Pangburn (who is originally from Lexington) painted the right side and New York artist Aerosol Kingdom painted the left side. Besides the huge cattle, there are warblers and an ear tag with the number 859 on it.  I have included some of the details of the art.
Till the Cows Come Home by Alexandrea Pangburn and Aerosol Kingdom
Detail of a Warbler
859 Tag representing the area code of Lexington
Baltimore-based GAIA also returned to Lexington to paint “The Mother of Us All.” This huge mural, painted in shades of purple and pink, is a tribute to Sweet Evening Breeze, a Lexington historical figure known for cross-dressing. It is also a tribute to the LGBTQ community.
The Mother of Us All by street artist GAIA
Local Lexington graphic designer and tattoo artist Joe King painted the unique “The Pythia in Agate” piece on the corner of Jefferson and Fourth. It centers around Greek mythology and depicts the Oracle of Delphi.
Pythia in Agate by Lexington artist Joe King
The final piece is difficult to get straight on, but is really meaningful. Titled “Friendship,” it was painted on a wall at Harrison Elementary on Bruce Street by artist Key Detail, who came from Belarus and is currently based in New York City. This lovely mural is the second PRHBTN piece from him.
Friendship by street artist Key Detail
Detail of the fox in Key Detail’s mural
Besides PRHBTN, there are a number of other fairly recent additions to Lexington’s walls. Some of these are likely painted earlier than 2021, but I recently came upon them, so I am adding them here.  I’ll start off with one that was painted back in January 2021 and then was painted over later in the year.
Bernie Sanders meme wall painting by Ben Runco (no longer visible)
Sumoflam and Bernie – January 2021

Back in January 2021 there was a great Meme of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sitting in a chair with mittens and a mask on his face while at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.  It made the rounds in all sorts of media across the U.S. and Lexington got their own addition for a short while. It was pretty hilarious to see all of the memes.  I couldn’t resist heading over to get a glimpse (and selfie) with Bernie.  This painting of Bernie on the wall of the warehouse for Shop Local KY on W. High Street was painted by an artist named Sleepless Jack (real name Ben Runco – a graphic artist for Shop Local KY).

Dolly Parton by ArtFX at W. High and Robertson in Lexington.
In June 2021, Bernie got painted over and ArtFX Design Studios from Bowling Green, KY came in and painted a lovely rendition of famed singer Dolly Parton on the same wall.  Instantly recognizable, they did a great job.  Of course, I needed to get a selfie with Dolly too!!
It is not unusual for wall art to get painted over.  Most of the street artists know that this can happen going in.  It is kind of sad to me to see all the time and effort on art just get painted over.  But, I suppose it is part of the gig.  In the above instance, I think Dolly is much better than Bernie anyway.
Dick Van Dyke mural on the side of Barnhill Chimney building – Artwork by SQUAREPEGS Studio

Head on down Midland Avenue and another famous face can be found on the side of the Barnhill Chimney Company Showroom, which was opened in September 2021.  Of course, this painting comes from Mary Poppins where Dick Van Dyke is a Chimney Sweep.  Very appropriate. This art was done by Lexington’s SQUAREPEGS Studio.

Marilyn Monroe by Lexington Artist Dani Greene
Hanging with Dani Greene at her amazing Flamingo painting in Lexington in 2019

Just a bit north of Dick Van Dyke, another famous face adorns a wall.  Titled “Infamous,” it is by local Lexington artist Dani Greene, whose paintings can be seen all over Central Kentucky.  Dani is a prolific artist and really has the unique ability to create in many styles. She painted one of my favorites in Lexington a couple of years ago – a giant flamingo, coupled with a zebra.  I made sure to wear my pink shirt to go with it on the day I visited her.

A drive around Lexington will warrant at least 20 of her large works of art.  However, her work also sits insides schools, barber shops, barbecue joints and more.

Another Dani Greene piece in North Lexington

Th above piece comes from North Lexington and has been around for a while, but I have never added a photo of it.  I am pretty certain it is also a Dani Greene piece.

New Vista wall covered in color on Mechanic Street in Lexington. Painted by Casey McKinney.
A side view of the New Vista building – “A New Day Dawning” by Kentucky artist Casey McKinney
Prestonsburg, KY mural by Casey McKinney

In the course of driving around Lexington, one may come across a couple of unique buildings that are covered in art.  One of them is a business called New Vista, located on Mechanic Street (across the street from the Cow Mural).  The Mechanic Street facility offers recovery assistance, mental illness services and more. Kentucky artist Casey McKinney was selected to paint this mural in partnership with LexArts, an organization that strives for cultural development and fund raising.  There are many art installations around Lexington that were sponsored by LexArts. I have seen other work by Casey McKinney, most recently in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, where I visited in September 2021.

Colorful Flowers adorn the Elwood Hotel and Suites in Lexington
Elwood mural detail – artwork done by Alixandra Jade

Another building is eye-catching when driving down South Broadway in Lexington.  The colorful art adorns the Elwood Hotel, a boutique hotel which is known for its 62 unique rooms, each one being different.  The hotel opened in September 2020.  Working with LexArts, the owners went through 200 applicants and selected Canadian artist Alixandra Jade to do the outdoor mural as well as a large mural in the conservatory and throughout the corridors on the four floors of this classy hotel.

Robertson Mural

When I visited the Dolly Parton mural on Robertson St., I discovered another set of murals on a nearby building down the street from it.  No idea who did these, but I wanted to share them.

Horse Barn art on Robertson
Sunflowers on Robertson
Running Horses on Robertson

In late 2020, a group of students form the University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies’ Guerilla Art class created “Image Nation” across a long building on Bolivar Street near UK Campus. The total length is 200 feet and it is difficult to get it all in one photo shot.

Imagine Nation mural painted by students from the Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies.
The Nation part of Imagine Nation

And here are some of the details of the whimsical work of Imagine Nation.

Space Man
Happy Dragon
Scary – NO!!
Girl With Balloon
Lady Liberty?

Paintings on restaurants and eateries are becoming more common. One day I discovered a lovely Sugar Skull painting on the side of a place called the Painted Taco on Rosemont Garden in Lexington.  The art was colorful and loud!  Sadly, the restaurant didn’t make it and the mural has since been painted over.

The Painted Taco sugar skull (no longer visible)

But, recently, a new restaurant opened on Limestone called El Cid.  It too is a Mexican eatery.  The outside of the restaurant has plenty of color and truly entices passersby to come in and try some of their goodies (which I have yet to do!!).

El Cid mural in Lexington

Another interesting face has shown up on the side of the El Cid restaurant on National Dr.

El Cid Mural on National

Recently a huge horse mural showed up in an alley in downtown Lexington, off of Short Street.  There are numerous murals in the area, most of them being from PRHBTN, but this particular one is not a PRHBTN work.

The Horse on High Knoll by Wylie Caudill added in December 2021

Wylie Caudill is a local Lexington artist that has done a number of pieces around town. This massive pink horse is in a difficult location to really capture the entire mural, but it is a great addition to Lexington’s growing collection of street art.

Locally Lexington seen downtown

Finally, there is an assortment of odds and ends that are now dotting the town.  Here they are.

Big Blue and a Rainbow
Our Backyard is Better
Together We Are Stronger – downtown
Unique discovery
Pass the Baton on North Broadway

Have you seen my books yet? The series now has five books and I am working on books six and seven. Book Six will be all about murals from all over the country!! Watch for them later this year.